March, 2009

Join Us For Breakfast!

BrunchWe invite you to join us for breakfast, this coming Saturday March 14th starting at 6:30am.  Every year from March 2nd to March 20th adult Bahá’ís all over the world observe a period of fasting. The fast involves abstention from food and drink is from sunrise to sunset during this 19 day period. While this physical fast may be more visible, the spiritual significance is much deeper. As Shoghi Effendi stated:

“It is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character.”

Since sunrise in Arlington, VA this Saturday is 7:21am, we will be gathering at 6:30am to have breakfast, and then say prayers and watch the sunrise. Everyone is invited to join us. For more information please contact us.

U.S. Senate Support for Baha’is in Iran

ron_wydenUnited States Senator Ron Wyden introduced a Senate Resolution, S. Res. 71 on March 9 which addresses America’s concern over the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran. The other original cosponsors include Senators Brownback, Menendez, Snowe and Whitehouse. Please contact or write to your Senators, and urge them to cosponsor this very important legislation.

Below is an excerpt of Senator Wyden’s congressional testimony:

“Mr. President, I rise today to speak in support of a resolution that I am offering with my colleagues, Senators Brownback, Menendez, Snowe, and Whitehouse. This resolution condemns the Iranian government’s persecution of its own Baha’i community and urges the Obama administration to speak out strongly against this continued injustice.

The Baha’i Faith, the world’s youngest independent monotheistic religion, was founded in Iran in 1844. Today, it is practiced by more than 5 million people across the planet, from Bangalore, India to Beaverton, Oregon. Roughly 300,000 of these adherents still live in Iran. Although Baha’i teachings emphasize equality, unity, and peace, Iranian authorities have viewed the religion as an apostasy and have treated it as a threat since the beginning.

The current Islamic Republic has been particularly hostile to Baha’i practitioners since its establishment in 1979. In 1983, Iran’s government formally banned all Baha’i religious institutions and criminalized membership in them and service to them. The regime has officially recognized Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians as religious minorities. It refuses to extend this same status to the Baha’is, even though they make up Iran’s largest religious minority.”

The entire congressional testimony and the text of the resolution are available as a PDF by clicking here.

Interfaith Prayers- the Equality of Men and Women

March 8th is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women. On Monday March 9th, the weekly Arlington devotional will be focused on the topic of the equality of men and women.equality-of-men-and-women

“The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary attainment for humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment.”

Please join us for interfaith devotions, prayers, music, fellowship, cake and tea on Monday, March 9th at 7:00 pm. The building is metro-accessible via the Orange line, between the Virginia Square and Ballston stations, and is right across from Arlington Central Library. Please contact the Bahá’ís of Arlington and find out more about this devotional gathering.

Local Response to the Situation in Iran

The Alexandria Gazette and the Mount Vernon Gazette both published articles on March 5th regarding the plight of the Bahá’ís in Iran, and specifically regarding the seven Bahá’í leaders who are imprisoned. There are ongoing prayer gatherings here in Arlington, as well as in Alexandria, Falls Church and Mount Vernon. For more information regarding these prayer gatherings and other upcoming events in this our area, please visit our Calendar of Events.

So what can we do locally?

1. Write to your local Representative and ask them to co-sponsor H.Res 175. Representative Jim Moran of Arlington was one of the original co-sponsors of this resolution that “Condemning the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.”

2. Write to your Senators and ask them to pass a similar resolution in the Senate.

3. Attend a Prayer Gathering.

4. Watch an overview of the situation and express your concern on the Speak Out 4 Baha’is Website.

5. Use your talents to express your concern.  An example of this is the “Be Free Campaign” which has songs available for free download.

6. Join Facebook groups or other social networking groups related to the topic and express your concern. “Free 7 Baha’i Leaders in Iran” or “Prayer Chain for the Baha’is in Iran.”

7. Stay in formed – visit for the latest updates.